World

Conrad Black seeking clemency from President Bush

Deposed media baron Conrad Black is hoping George W. Bush will grant him clemency during the U.S. president's final weeks in office.

Deposed media baron Conrad Black is hoping George W. Bush will grant him clemency during the U.S. president's final weeks in office.

The Department of Justice in Washington has confirmed that Montreal-born Black requested that his 6½-year sentence be commuted.

"The Office of the Pardon Attorney received an application for commutation of sentence from Conrad Black," a department official wrote in an e-mail to CBC News.

In March, Black began serving his sentence in the low-security section of the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in central Florida following his conviction on charges of obstructing justice and defrauding shareholders of his former newspaper company, Hollinger International Inc.

Black and three other former Hollinger executives — John Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis — were found guilty of fraud in 2007 for funnelling $6.1 million US from the media company.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president has an almost unlimited power to grant reprieves, a reduction in punishment, or pardons, which remove the sentence and the criminal record.

U.S. presidents often hand out a series of pardons during their last month in the White House. 

Bush has used the power sparingly throughout his two terms.

In his most high-profile use of his right, he commuted part of the sentence of former White House aide Lewis Libby in 2007 for lying about what he told reporters regarding CIA officer Valerie Plame. Her identity was leaked in 2003 after her husband, Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration's Iraq war policies.